In an interview with EthicalFoods.com, Chef Magnanelli talks about how climate change has impacted his restaurant and his reasons for championing sustainable agriculture by choosing to source his ingredients locally.
Why source sustainable food from local suppliers?
It’s something we whole-heartedly believe in—my parents are small business owners so I’ve always been privy to supporting local whenever I can. Plus, I like to have relationships with the growers and handpick the food that comes in to my restaurant. It also doesn’t hurt to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible.
Has your restaurant been affected by the drought, ocean acidification, or any other changes in climate?
The drought has affected the feed for our cows on a local level. In fact, just last week we were notified by one of our main suppliers that due to the drought they were being forced to raise their prices, which is something they haven’t done in years—if ever. Unfortunately it’s possible that will reflect on potential price changes for us as well.
Are there any challenges that you’ve encountered in trying to find local suppliers of sustainably cultivated food?
For us it’s actually the opposite. We are so fortunate to have so many local sources for sustainable food. Everyday we have more and more local farms approaching us with really quality product. San Diego is amazing in that way, it’s something that chefs across the country dream about having access to.
If you could change or accomplish one thing in 2013 that would make local, sustainable food more accessible, what would that be?
I would stop the government subsidies to large farms. If we could do that, it would force people to buy local and make conscious decisions and in turn lower the prices for local and organic products.
Any other thoughts on how climate change will affect agriculture and the restaurant industry?
We have definitely seen some erratic seasons. For example last summer was super hot and long, lasting well into November. Fig season for us was super long. The problem with the climate change is that we can’t as easily predict what produce will be available when, with such drastic changes.
photo credit: Andy Boyd
More Ethical Foods Restaurant & Chef Interviews
As Executive Chef for both Graze and L’Etoile in Madison, Wisconsin, Tory Miller chooses only the finest farm-fresh ingredients from his local producers. At his… Read more
As Ohio’s first certified green restaurant, The Greenhouse Tavern maintains two core principles- to use local, organic and sustainably produced ingredients and to operate under… Read more
Restaurants with roots Restaurants across the country are now boasting farm to table fare on their menus, sourced from local farms or, increasingly, a farm… Read more
The restaurant takes pride in its impeccably sourced fish. Bamboo Sushi works in partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Marine Stewardship Council to… Read more
Vegan is going mainstream It wasn’t long ago that eating vegan was a difficult thing to commit to, and eating out was nearly impossible. The… Read more
A long-standing stigma attached to taking leftovers home has hindered British and European diners from tackling waste reduction at the restaurant table. Three new movements… Read more
Restaurants are a significant source of pollution—from food waste to spent cooking oil to toxic chemicals. Eden Canon explores the ways in which the restaurant… Read more
Meet Shanti Allen, Executive Chef and founder of Alchemy, Ubud’s first completely raw vegan restaurant. Shanti meets me for our interview in a sundress and… Read more
Some restaurants are taking the next step in local, sustainable food by creating their own gardens and small farms. Whether their gardens contribute significantly to… Read more
Mixt is at the forefront of a new trend—eco-conscious chain restaurants. With casual lunch joints like Mixt embracing sustainable practices, green dining is no longer… Read more
In an interview with EthicalFoods.com, Chef Dissen discusses his efforts to source and promote local, sustainably caught seafood. Read more
Kylie’s bijoux restaurant is located in the Surry Hills neighborhood of Sydney, a once down-and-out corner of the city that has been reborn as a… Read more